Money Talks: 5 Pantry Staples to Start Any Meal

We've all been there... you're just home from work or school, you're digging around in the pantry and you can't find a thing to eat.

But before you give in and order out... why don't you try this? Why don't you keep the right stuff in your pantry, that way you're never more than 15 minutes away from a much cheaper, much better home cooked meal.

First, pasta. It's a great start to so many different meals. It's cheap, and it's fast. Next, jarred marinara sauce. It'll go with pasta, meat and can even be used as a soup base.

Never underestimate the goodness of onion and garlic. Boy they can make almost anything taste good. And you know what? You can actually take a clove of this garlic, throw it in a pot and grow it yourself.

Then there's tuna... Eat it alone, in a sandwich or a casserole. Tuna is a versatile and affordable pantry protein. And finally, rice.

If you know how to boil water, you can make rice. And there's no reason to get the minute kind: it costs twice as much and it's no better, not much or faster than regular rice.

Bottom line? Home cooking tastes way better and costs way less than eating out. So keep some staples stocked, add a few simple recipes, and you'll take a bite out of that budget.

This is the short list: For more ideas, or to add your own, go to and do a search for "food."

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